ROME — Looking to revise his clay-court game ahead of Roland Garros, Kei Nishikori defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5), 6-4 Monday in the first round of the Italian Open.
It was Nishikori’s first victory since reaching the final of the Monte Carlo Masters last month. In his previous two matches, Nishikori retired against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Barcelona and lost to Novak Djokovic in Madrid.
Nishikori hit only 18 winners to Lopez’s 26 but had fewer unforced errors – 19 to 31.
Lopez argued with the chair umpire after losing a point in which he thought the ball bounced twice before Nishikori hit a half volley.
The 24th-ranked Nishikori will next face third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov.
Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, 10th-seeded Pablo Carrena Busta beat Jared Donaldson 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.
In women’s action, Johanna Konta defeated 17th-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-3 to improve to 4-0 in her career against the Slovakian; and Petra Martic beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-2 and will next face defending champion Elina Svitolina.
The French Open starts May 27.
STRASBOURG, France (AP) Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty withdrew from the Internationaux de Strasbourg clay-court tournament on Tuesday because of a right arm injury.
Barty was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Diana Marcinkevica.
The eighth-ranked Australian said she would not take any risk ahead of the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.
“I gave it my best chance, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be playing my best tennis,” Barty said. “I’m busy the next two months and I need to look after my body now.”
GENEVA (AP) Former top-10 player Janko Tipsarevic used his wild-card entry to beat Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 7-5, 7-5 in the Geneva Open first round on Monday.
Now ranked No. 317, the 34-year-old Tipsarevic is back in ATP Tour main draws after missing the 2018 season for hamstring injuries to heal.
Fifth-seeded Radu Albot advanced to the second round on a day when two seeded players lost in the final week of clay-court warmups for the French Open.
Albot beat qualifier Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3), after 92nd-ranked Hugo Dellien beat eighth-seeded Andreas Seppi 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, and seventh-seeded Matthew Ebden lost to Nicolas Jarry of Chile 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Rain cut short play and gave former No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov a day off after playing through two qualifying rounds.
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